What Was the Highest OSHA Penalty in Your State?

January 23, 2017

A new OSHA webpage makes it easy to find the top fines issued by OSHA since January 2015. Older citations will be added to the database in a future update. The database includes fines issued by most state-administered OSHA programs, however, data for some states is missing.

California:  PaPafe, Inc.
Texas: Design Plastering, Inc., and Design Plastering West, LLC
Colorado: Premiere Roofing
Oklahoma: Alfa Laval
Illinois:  Joseph Kehrer/Kehrer Brothers Construction, Inc.
Indiana: Korn Island Shipyard
Ohio: Sunfield, Inc.
Pennsylvania: Lloyd Industries
Michigan: Grand Rapids Plastics
North Carolina: Industrial Fabricators, Inc.
Florida: Pinnacle Roofing Contractors, Inc.
New York: International Paper
New Jersey: The LandTek Group

$196,450.00
$407,400.00
$90,860.00
$307,900.00
$1,792,000.00
$112,500.00
$2,892,400.00
$507,000.00
$338,000.00
$232,100.00
$154,000.00
$211,000.00
$197,752.00

The fines posed in the database are identified as the initial fine. The fine paid, if any, could have been reduced. If your site is on one of the OSHA top violator lists, we’d like to help you maintain compliance. Call us for a 10% discount on any Environmental Resource Center webcasts or seminars. To use this discount, mention, “I’m on OSHA’s List,” when you call.

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Lack of Safeguards at John's Used Autos and Parts Leads to Fatal Injury

A Bellingham used auto parts business' failure to follow required workplace safety standards allowed an employee to suffer fatal head injuries, an investigation by OSHA has found.

The employee was working at John's Used Autos and Parts, LLC, when he was struck in the head by a chain come-a-long device as he attempted to inflate and mount a multi-piece rim wheel on a vehicle on October 31, 2016. He later died on November 11. Inspectors from the agency's Braintree Area Office determined that the company failed to provide adequate training and safeguards to protect the deceased worker and other employees while they serviced rim wheels.

"This employee's death was preventable. Servicing rim wheels such as these is dangerous, exposing employees to struck-by and other hazards. An employer must train workers properly and equip them to do this kind of work safely before they start the job. I urge all employers performing this type of work to review their operations and take the required corrective action, so no other workers are killed," said James Mulligan, OSHA's area director for Boston and southeastern Massachusetts.

Specifically, the employer did not:

  • Train and instruct the employees in correct and safe operating procedures for servicing multi-piece rim wheels
  • Establish safe operating procedures
  • Provide a restraining device for employees to use when inflating the tire

The inspection also identified violations concerning lack of exit route signage, personal protective equipment, forklift training, electrical safety and training about hazardous chemicals in the workplace. Finally, the employer did not notify OSHA of the employee's death as required.

As a result of these conditions, OSHA cited John's Used Autos and Parts for 12 violations of workplace safety standards.

SanCasT Fined $235,879 for Exposing Workers to Machine and Fall Hazards

A follow-up inspection by OSHA found a casting and foundry facility operator continues to expose workers to machine and fall hazards at its Coshocton plant.

On January 17, 2017, the agency issued SanCasT, Inc., three repeated, and four serious safety violations carrying proposed penalties of $235,879. The agency cited the company for similar violations in both 2013 and 2014.

"Companies cited repeatedly for the same safety violations demonstrate a lack of concern for employee safety," said Larry Johnson, OSHA's area director in Columbus. "Manufacturing facilities need to take a hard look at machinery operations, guarding and safety training to protect employees from injuries on the job."

In its inspection, OSHA found the company:

  • Failed to develop and implement adequate lockout/tag out procedures and periodically inspect such procedures
  • Exposed workers to live electrical contacts
  • Did not install machine guards
  • Exposed workers to fall hazards because guardrails lacked a top rail and floor holes were not covered

Based in Wilmerding, Pennsylvania, SanCasT is a subsidiary of Wabtec which manufactures parts and equipment for locomotives, freight cars and passenger transit vehicles.

Bay Fabrication Fined $219,242 After Two Workers Suffer Severe Injuries

In less than 10 days in 2016, two employees at a Green Bay, Wisconsin, muffler component manufacturer suffered severe injuries as they operated machinery without adequate safety guards and procedures in place, federal workplace safety investigators have determined.

On January 18, 2017, OSHA issued one willful, one repeated, one other-than-serious violation and two serious violations to Bay Fabrication. The company, part of the Bay Family of Companies with 75 locations in the U.S., faces $219,242 in proposed penalties.

Investigators determined a worker had his left hand crushed on July 21, 2016, by a molding machine, when the tamp head smashed his hand as he removed a mold from the machine. OSHA found the machine's safety interlock on the door guarding the operating parts was damaged and not functional properly which disabled the safety guard and led to the injury.

On July 30, 2016, another worker suffered the partial amputation of his left middle finger. In this instance, investigators found the molding machine cycled and caught his finger in an unguarded pinch point. They determined the machine was not locked out as required.

"The fact that two workers suffered debilitating injuries is tragic. The reality is that the company failed to re-evaluate its machine safety procedures and continued to expose other workers to the same hazards even after these injuries," said Robert Bonack, OSHA's area director in Appleton. "Adequate and properly installed machine safety guards and lockout/tag out procedures must be in place to prevent workers from coming in contact with operating parts."

OSHA also found the company:

  • Failed to guard operating parts on various machines in the facility
  • Improperly installed safety guards on machines that created a hazard for employees
  • Failed to record work related injury on the illness and injury logs

US Department of Labor Renews the Maritime Advisory Committee for Occupational Safety and Health

Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez renewed the charter of the Maritime Advisory Committee for Occupational Safety and Health. The Federal Advisory Committee Act requires that all advisory committees renew their charters every two years.

MACOSH, established by the U.S. Department of Labor in 1995, advises the secretary of labor, through the assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, on working conditions in the maritime industry, including safety and health standards, injury and illness prevention, training and outreach initiatives, and enforcement initiatives to improve the safety and health of maritime workers. The maritime industry includes shipyard employment, longshoring, marine terminal, and other related industries, such as commercial fishing and shipbreaking.

MACOSH consists of 15 members representing workers, employers, and government safety and health agencies. Committee meetings are open to the public.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

County Concrete Corp. Fined $88,544 for Exposing Workers to Airborne Silica

On January 4, 2017, OSHA issued citations to County Concrete Corp., for one repeat and two failure-to-abate violations.

OSHA conducted an inspection on July 19, 2016, as a follow-up to the settlement of citations the company received in 2013. The agency issued citations to County Concrete in 2013 for 18 safety and health violations, and assessed $153,900 in penalties.

The agency cited the repeated violation because the company again failed to conduct annual tests to ensure that respirators fit employees properly while they were cleaning concrete mixers. Silica exposure can cause serious illnesses and damage to the respiratory system.

The failure-to-abate violations involved the company's failure to:

  • Develop and implement a written respiratory protection program for employees required to wear respirators during concrete mixer cleaning operations
  • Provide medical evaluations for employees required to wear respirators to determine their ability to use them without their health being compromised

These violations also were previously cited on September 30, 2013.

"Our follow-up inspection found that two County Concrete employees were exposed to silica above the permissible limit as they cleaned concrete mixers. In 2013, OSHA cited this company for these same hazards," said Kris Hoffman, director of OSHA's Parsippany Area Office. "Employers must bear the responsibility of fully complying with respiratory protection requirements to protect the safety and health of their workers."

Proposed penalties total $88,544.

Pennsylvania Hospital Exposed Workers to Workplace Violence, Other Hazards

On January 11, 2017, OSHA issued citations to BHC Northwest Psychiatric Hospital, LLC, doing business as Brooke Glen Behavioral Hospital, for four serious violations.

OSHA began its inspection on July 11, 2016, after receiving a complaint alleging that employees were exposed to workplace violence, and were not provided with clear access to restrooms.

OSHA cited the hospital under the OSH Act's General Duty Clause for exposing employees to the hazard workplace violence after the investigation found the facility had a number of incidents in which violence was committed by patients against employees. Incidents included employees being punched, bit, scratched, grabbed and hit with objects, resulting in serious injuries. In addition, the employer received citations for failing to provide personal protective equipment, allow bathroom access, and establish a comprehensive bloodborne pathogen program, failure to provide annual training and deficiencies in the content of the bloodborne pathogen training.

"Documented reports of violent incidents at this hospital reflect a lax approach to workplace safety. The hospital must take immediate action and put in place effective measures so that the hospital's employees can work safely," said Jean Kulp, director of OSHA's Allentown Office

Proposed penalties total $32,158.

Safe Use Determination for Diisononyl Phthalate (DINP) in Phifertex® Fabric

California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), the lead agency for the implementation of the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, received a request for a Safe Use Determination (SUD) for diisononyl phthalate (DINP) in Phifertex? fabric used in outdoor furniture products. The request was made by McKenna Long & Aldridge (MLA) LLP, on behalf of Phifer Incorporated, pursuant to OEHHA’s authority under Section 25204(a) of Title 27 of the California Code of Regulations. The products covered by this request are Phifertex? fabrics containing up to 25% DINP, when used in outdoor furniture products.

In accordance with the process set forth in Section 25204(f), OEHHA held a written public comment period on this request from February 13 to March 30, 2015. OEHHA also held a public hearing on March 30, 2015, in Sacramento, California. No public comments were received.

As provided in Sections 25204(a) and (k), OEHHA is issuing the following SUD to Phifer Incorporated for DINP in Phifertex? fabric used in outdoor furniture products:

  • OEHHA is issuing a safe use determination for DINP in Phifertex? fabric containing up to 25% DINP used in outdoor furniture products.

The essential elements and results of OEHHA’s assessment are described in the supporting document available at here.

Based on the screening level exposure analysis described in the supporting documentation, an upper-end estimate was made of DINP exposure from Phifertex? fabric containing up to 25% DINP for users of outdoor furniture products made with this fabric. This upper-end estimate of DINP exposure, 52.1 micrograms per day (µg/day), was compared to the No Significant Risk Level (NRSL) for DINP of 146 ?g/day. Thus, the estimated exposure to DINP from Phifertex? fabric containing up to 25% DINP for users of outdoor furniture products made with this fabric is below the NSRL and corresponds to an excess cancer risk of less than one in 100,000. A warning is not required for consumer exposure to DINP from Phifertex? fabric containing up to 25% DINP used in outdoor furniture products.

OSHA Orders Amtrak to Reinstate, Pay $892K to Employee

The National Railroad Passenger Corp., better known as Amtrak, retaliated against a supervisory special agent in its inspector general's office when he raised concerns about railroad safety, fraud and abuse involving an Amtrak contractor and when he supported a fellow agent's safety concerns during an internal investigation, OSHA has found.

In early to mid-2010, the agent was investigating an Amtrak contractor that had been convicted in a New York state court for fraud in examining and testing concrete at building projects in the New York City area. This Amtrak contractor had performed testing on certain Amtrak tunnel projects. Strongly believing it was necessary for safety and security reasons, the agent raised safety concerns regarding work performed by this contractor on Amtrak projects.

Then, in October 2010, the agent gave Amtrak's Dispute Resolution Office information and provided support for a fellow employee who had received a letter of reprimand after he raised safety concerns in a separate matter. The following month, the agent received his first-ever negative performance review. In March 2011, Amtrak notified him that—as a part of an overall reorganization—his position was being eliminated. In the course of the next few months, the agent applied for other positions, but was told that he lacked the required law enforcement training, despite a 40-year law enforcement career that included equivalent training. In June 2011, Amtrak notified the agent that he would be terminated due to his not being placed in a new position.

The terminated agent later filed a whistleblower complaint with OSHA. After concluding its investigation, the agency determined that the complainant engaged in protected Federal Railroad Safety Act activities when he raised concerns about safety issues related to work conducted by the Amtrak contractor and when he expressed his support of his fellow agent's safety complaints. OSHA also found these protected activities contributed as factors in his termination by Amtrak.

"In this case, an employee was terminated for pursuing and reporting safety concerns. The employer's retaliation is unacceptable and illegal. Federal law gives rail carrier employees the right to raise safety, health and security concerns with their supervisors without fear of retaliation. When retaliation occurs, it can have a chilling effect on employees and create a climate of silence where employees' fear to speak up masks conditions that could impact their health and well-being, and that of their customers," said Jeffrey Erskine, OSHA's acting New England regional administrator.

OSHA has issued a notice of findings to Amtrak ordering it to take the following corrective actions:

  • Reinstate the employee to his former or a similar position with all rights, seniority and benefits he would have received had he not been discharged
  • Pay him a total of $892,551, which is comprised of $723,332 in back wages plus $34,218 in interest; $100,000 in punitive damages; $35,000 in compensatory damages; plus reasonable attorney's fees and costs
  • Expunge from Amtrak's records all references related to his discharge and exercise of his FRSA rights; make no adverse statements concerning his employment at Amtrak; and not retaliate or discriminate against him in any manner
  • Post a notice to all railroad employees about their FRSA rights

The employee and Amtrak each have 30 days from receipt of OSHA's findings to file objections and request a hearing before the Labor Department's Office of Administrative Law Judges.

OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of the FRSA and 21 other statutes protecting employees who report violations of various airline, commercial motor carrier, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, health care reform, nuclear, pipeline, worker safety, public transportation agency, railroad, maritime and securities laws.

Employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who raise various protected concerns or provide protected information to the employer or to the government. Employees who believe that they have been retaliated against for engaging in protected conduct may file a complaint with the Secretary of Labor to request an investigation by OSHA's Whistleblower Protection Program.

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